5 Mistakes to Avoid When Making Chocolate Chip Cookies

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

Chocolate chip cookies are the most beloved type of cookie. These timeless sweet treats have wowed us all. And in fact, these cookies were probably the first thing many of us learned to bake.

Whether you’re just getting your feet wet with these classic cookies or you’ve been baking them for years, there are a few universal missteps to avoid before baking up your next batch.

1. Not choosing the right recipe.

We all have our own idea of what makes the perfect chocolate chip cookie — soft, chewy, thin, crispy, cakey, you name it. Before even getting out the flour, make sure you’ve picked a recipe that’s going to make you happy.

→ Follow this tip: Choose a recipe based on the type of cookie you like best.

  • If you like chewy cookies, look for recipes with a high moisture content.
  • For crisp cookies, the recipes need to be high in both fat and sugar.
  • For soft, cake-like cookies, look for high-moisture recipes that are low in fat and sugar.

For more info on how to spot the recipes of your dreams, or adjust a recipe you already love, read our guide to baking cookies your way in our Baking School.

2. Overworking the dough.

The more you mix and work the dough after adding the flour, the more gluten is formed, which can result in cookies that are tough and hard.

→ Follow this tip: After adding the flour, mix just until you see no more visible flour.

3. Not mixing in the chocolate chips well enough.

Have you ever made a batch of chocolate chip cookies where some cookies have a ton of chips in every bite, and others are mostly dough?

→ Follow this tip: To thoroughly mix in the chips without overworking the dough, gently fold the chips into the dough with a scooping motion until they’re evenly distributed.

4. Not forming evenly sized balls of cookie dough.

When your balls of cookie dough are different sizes, your cookies will bake at different speeds. Smaller balls of dough may overbake or burn, while larger ones might end up raw in the center.

→ Follow this tip: Rather than shaping by hand, use a cookie scoop or a tablespoon measure to shape evenly sized balls of dough.

5. Placing the cookies too close together on the baking sheet.

The cookies will spread and expand as they bake. When the dough balls are placed too close together on the baking sheet, you run the risk of creating a big cookie cake instead of the individual cookies you were hoping for.

→ Follow this tip: The cookies need space to spread during cooking. Place the uncooked dough balls about 2 inches apart. If necessary, bake your cookies in batches.

What are your best tips for baking excellent chocolate chips cookies?